There are three playoff games on Thursday night, the third day in a row with that many games. Every night in the postseason has sparse game loads, which means lots of overlap but also lots of opportunity to win if you hit on the right player or two. This is a night where a lot of the talent is concentrated at small forward, meaning the choice of which two to pick could be pivotal for your team. And with the venue switching to the lower seedsí home courts, there could conceivably be some changes in player value with respect to the first two games, especially among the younger and role players. Should be a fun night, so letís dig in a bit.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs TOR ($10,500): Antetokounmpo blasted the Raptors in both of the first two games of the series, following up a 28 point, eight rebound, three assist, three combined block/steal effort in Game 1 with a 24 point, 15 rebound, seven assist, two steal effort in Game 2. The Raptors donít have anyone physically able to match Antetokounmpo 1-on-1, and he has been very aggressive so far in trying to lead his team to an upset victory.
Mike Conley, MEM vs SA ($7,300): Conley scored 40.2 fantasy points in Game 2 against the Spurs after scoring 35.5 fantasy points in only 30 minutes of a blowout Game 1. Conley is playing at a high level right now, and has varied between solid and elite in each of the five games that heís played against the Spurs since mid-March. On Thursday, he returns to his home court and will need a strong game to try to get the Grizzlies their first win in the series.
Lance Stephenson, IND vs CLE ($5000): Stephenson has scored between 25.4 and 28.9 fantasy points in three straight games, including both games against the Cavaliers this postseason. He has played 26 and 27 minutes in the playoff games so far, firmly establishing himself as an important player in the Pacersí rotation. On Thursday, he goes back home, and can pull on his previous years in a Pacersí uniform to feel that home court buzz as he continues to take on more responsibility in his latest stint with the team.
LeBron James, CLE at IND ($11,300): James has faced the Pacers three times in the last 18 days and is averaging a bit more than 65 fantasy points in that span with a min of 55.5 and a max of 79.3 (in double-overtime). The Pacers seem to bring out the best in James, and it is playoffs time so you expect big minutes and max production on the regular from him.
Serge Ibaka, TOR at MIL ($5,800): Ibaka has been the best Raptors player in the first two games of the playoffs, averaging more than 38 fantasy points. He also had success against the Bucks in the regular season, which suggests this production isnít a fluke. The series now shifts to Milwaukee, so he could have a bit of trouble maintaining such a strong pace, but his price is still affordable enough that he would still provide value even if he slowed slightly.
Zach Randolph, MEM vs SA ($5,400): Randolph had a terrible Game 1 against the Spurs with only 10.1 fantasy points, but he bounced back with 35.5 fantasy points in Game 2. His second outing was more in line with his regular season performance, as in three games between mid-March and early April, Randolph averaged about 30 fantasy points per game against the Spurs. Randolph will also get to play in front of the home crowd on Thursday, in a game that is essentially a must-win if the Grizzlies are to have any shot to stay in this series.
Marc Gasol, MEM vs SA ($7,100): Gasol is the third Grizzlies player on this list. He came back to earth with 25.7 fantasy points in Game 2 of this series, after popping for 44 fantasy points in only 34 minutes in Game 1. In three late-season meetings with the Spurs, Gasol averaged a bit more than 27 fantasy points per game. Thus, he seems to have an expected value in the upper 20s but with upside up into the 40s of fantasy points as he plays only his second home game against the Spurs in that span of games.
Greg Monroe, MIL vs TOR ($5,900): Monroe scored 25.3 fantasy points in Game 2 after 36 in Game 1, and has now averaged around 29 fantasy points in his last five games overall. He is averaging about 27 fantasy points in his last three games against the Raptors, including their March meeting, so by both of his latest trends itíd appear that Monroeís expected value on Thursday would be in the upper 20s of fantasy points with a confidence interval of about 10 fantasy points in either direction.
Tristan Thompson, CLE at IND ($4,600): Thompson scored 18.5 fantasy points in Game 2 after 24.1 in Game 1, and 22.8 the last time that he faced the Pacers in the regular season less than three weeks ago. Factor in that his season average overall is 22.9 fantasy points per game, and he has been right around his expected value so far these playoffs. His price is low enough, though, that an expected value in the low 20s with at least reasonable upside to hit 30 fantasy points on a good day could make him useful on a short slate of games.